Shockers bounce back from six-run deficit, defeat Indiana State
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Senior Kelli Spring was moved from left field to second base in the top of the fifth inning. Playing a position she was in for most of last season, Spring prevented the go-ahead run from scoring by tagging out the runner at second and sending a bullet to first to retire the side.
The Shockers fed off Spring’s defensive spark by scoring four runs a half inning later to tie the game at six. Down by as many as six runs, the Shockers finished their climb on the comeback wall scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth to grab a 9-6 win over Indiana State.
WSU won the second game of Friday’s doubleheader 7-3 at Wilkins Stadium.
“The bottom line is that play cut that inning down. It could’ve ended up being a pretty bad inning,” head coach Kristi Bredbenner said. “When you’re not playing great defense and somebody makes a huge play like that, I think it really gets everybody fired up and a little bit more jazzed about getting after it with the bats.”
The Sycamores went through the entire batting order in the top of the first, capitalizing on five hits and three WSU errors. ISU started a scoring rally by scoring on a double steal, following up with scoring three more runs on a fielder’s choice and back-to-back singles with one out in the top of the first.
An error by WSU third baseman Mackenzie Wright allowed another Sycamore run to score and ISU’s Rylee Holland extended the lead 6-0 on a single to second base.
“I never felt like in that first inning we were out of that game and I think the girls had that same mentality,” Bredbenner said. “It was just a matter of when we were going to get it started.”
With the Shockers’ first hit of the game not coming until the third inning, WSU made their offensive stride in the bottom of the fourth. Sophomore Laurie Derrico hit her ninth home run of the season with a shot to left field to score WSU’s first run of the game.
Sophomore Asea Webber pinch hit for senior Ashley Johnson with a runner on second base. The wind allowed Webber’s high fly ball in right field to drop and earn an RBI double that cut the deficit 6-2.
“At first I think (the wind) actually hurt us a little bit, but then I felt like it caught (Indiana State) off guard and it pushed our balls more like in (Derrico’s) hit,” Webber said. “It was a shot, but that wind helped it more.”
Two walks by Wright and freshman Madison Perrigan after Spring’s double play set up an RBI double from senior Macklin Hitz to cut ISU’s deficit to three runs. A sacrifice fly to right field by Derrico allowed Perrigan to score from third that made it a 6-4 game in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Junior McKenzie Adams crushed a ball to right center field that drove in the two tying runs from third and first, earning her third triple of the season.
“I never was too worried being down six. It’s not fond being down six, but I know we can hit,” Spring said. “We were never freaked out. We were calm, collected and knew that we had seven innings to score six runs.”
Wright and Spring moved to second and third base quickly before ISU forced Perrigan and Hitz into two straight putouts without either runner advancing. Derrico’s hard liner to short stop allowed her to beat out the throw to first and allow the go-ahead run to score in the bottom of the sixth.
Junior Paige Luellen followed with a two-out double to right field that gave the Shockers the three-run advantage.
WSU (25-14, 10-4) wraps up the season series with the Sycamores on Saturday at 11 a.m. at Wilkins Stadium.